Taking the board book into the next century is Who Says Moo? from developer KneeBouncers, LLC. Incorporating animated interactive drawings, sound effects, read-aloud features, and even the ability to record your own custom voice-over narration, Who Says Moo? is a children’s book that aims to educate and entertain.
How It Works
The launch screen gives you the choice to have the “book” read aloud, to read along on your own, or to record your own reading of the text. Once a custom reading is recorded that option is added to the launch screen, letting your child hear the custom reading instead of the voice that is shipped with the app.
Once you launch the book experience itself you have freedom to experience it in almost any way you choose. You can interact with the animal currently on the screen by tapping it and watching it go through a series of sounds and animations. You can experience the book in a more standard “book” format by tapping outside the animal in a blank area of the screen, and the words will appear in sequence (to be read on your own or to be read aloud). You can also skip through the animals by just tapping the next animal in line in either direction, both of which are visible on either side of the screen, without hearing or reading the text at all. If you’re at the first or last page you also have the option of bringing up the full screen of every animal included in the app, and listen to the sounds by tapping on their icons to hear the authentic recordings.
When you record a custom reading you simply tap the microphone icon on the main screen, and are then presented with the list of phrases that you can record in your own voice. The first few lines of text will be repeated several times during the reading and only need to be recorded once. The rest involve the different unique sounds that each of the animals makes, and you simply tap through the list and record each phrase. You have the option available to listen to each recording on its own so that you don’t have to finish the entire piece before checking the recording quality.
Pros And Cons
Who Says Moo? is a fun little digital interactive “board book” for toddlers that has more benefits than initially meet the eye. Not only is it fun to play with as a digital entertainment toy, but I found while reviewing it that it’s also a great tool to support reading comprehension. I let my (almost 6-year-old) son play with it in the “standard” way, by tapping and reading and hearing the sounds. Then I asked him to record his own voice-over, and things really took off. The frequent repetition of the written word on the recording screens gave him confidence that he knew what to do every step of the way, and being able to hear his own voice read the text once he was done was a great reward for all of his hard work.
And hard work it was, since there are so many animals to record. I’m not sure that there’s an answer to this “problem”, since usually having more content is a feature and not a problem, but there really are a ton of phrases to record in order to create a complete ebook experience. The nice thing is that you don’t really need to complete the recording process in its entirety in order to be able to enjoy what you’ve already recorded.
The only bug I found was that I needed to do a force-quit of the app after recording custom phrases before I was able to hear them played back. This may or may not have been the app itself; it could easily have been a memory issue with my particular iPad and the apps that were already running in the background.
Who Says Moo? is an entertaining and educational ebook-style app. It has the potential to engage not just on the level of fun and laughter, but to also get a child directly involved in reading in order to create something all their own. It is currently available in the iTunes App Store for $2.99, as an iPad-only download.
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